An intense Florida bass stocking program has made 1,520-acre Lake Monticello in the lowland Coastal Plain region of southern Arkansas a premier trophy bass fishery.
Hundreds of bass weighing over 10 pounds have been caught from Monticello,” says Elite Series pro Scott Rook, who has fished in eight Bassmaster Classics. “I’ve caught a good many of those giant largemouth myself.”
Special regulations help maintain Monticello’s trophy status. Largemouth bass from 19 to 22 inches long must be released immediately. The daily largemouth limit is eight, only one of which may exceed 22 inches.
Diana Andrews, the district’s fisheries biologist, states that Florida-strain largemouth weighing more than 14 pounds have been caught at Lake Monticello. It takes persistence to catch a Monticello bass that weighs 8 to 10 pounds or more, but Andrews claims that bass weighing 5 to 6 pounds are fairly easy to catch.
Lake Atkins, a 750-acre state-owned lake, also produces big bass, points out Kevin Hopkins, an assistant black bass biologist in Arkansas.
“Atkins was renovated back in 2002 and restocked with Florida largemouth bass,” Hopkins says. “The lake is filled with standing timber and there are some cypress trees growing in it as well.”